Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Palimpsest

In the course of spending 12 years of my life in this slanted little house, my writing desk has settled itself into three rooms, the first being the living room. This was a total disaster, because even with my morning writing schedule, I felt the pull of the kitchen dishes stacked behind me, or the laundry below, or whatever remnants were left from the previous evening on the dining room table. Exotic plants took up valuable real estate in the windows, so there was little view. In the summer, I took my journal outside and sat on the kitchen steps, avoiding the desk altogether, writing among the bamboo we have planted along the fence. Later, the desk moved upstairs into the bedroom, and near a window that overlooks my neighbor's deteriorating concrete piling, their covered swimming pool weighted with gallon jugs of water, and the empty eyes of an abandoned Catholic church. In winter, the birds congregate near the cross, where I suspect most of the heat from the building escapes. Being able to roll right out of bed and into the writing chair has benefits. The drawback came when the bed was upgraded to king-sized and I didn't want to leave it. For the past few weeks I've been a surreptitious writer, dashing off whatever notes I could, and my desk became just another surface to fill with old playbills from the theatre.

Yesterday my desk took up residence in what we refer to as the "back room," which houses the bulk of our books, a library card catalog, and an old Dickson coal stove. It felt good to carry the desk, dust it off, and settle it under the bookshelves and next to the card catalog with its ever everlasting hope of order. To the left of my desk is a window that looks out onto the patio and backyard. Being near a window only makes more time to daydream, watch the last brown leaves hang on with diligence, and listen to the cat's wheeze as she stares out the window too, waiting for a sparrow to notate the feeder. Still, I'm hopeful that this new space will be one I return to on a daily basis. I know that there is nothing better than being here, writing with so many great sentences above me, and one white cloud hanging over the neighbor's shed like a thought balloon.

2 comments:

Susan said...

Palimpsest - I had to look it up. Good word, so appropriate to your good post.

Talia said...

I used to have a desk--an entire room actually to myself and writing, or whatever I wanted it for...but ah, alas came the child and you know how the story goes. But I have a really nice desk at work.

Happy writing!